no one is keeping count, I have written a lot of pieces for Texasescapes.com about
the people of Galveston;
most of them from days gone by, but then a significant number about some of those
who, today, comprise the living island’s rich fabric.
It’s common knowledge
among islanders that Sarah Bernhardt, Anna Pavlova, the Great Houdini and Enrico
Caruso played The Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House.
But the notoriety
of one star-studded performance has, over time, fallen through the cracks.
the November 26, 1904 edition of the Galveston Tribune readers learned that Theodora
Howell was to star in a traveling vaudeville review that would open that night
at the Grand.
courtesy Winifred Gordy Family
She and her husband,
Edwin, were well known in show business back then.
Theodora had a wonderful
And then as so often happens, Edwin and Theodora decided
to get out of show business and to make Galveston
you move time forward just shy of twenty years, Edwin is now a boat captain, and
he and his crew, under governmental orders, are to sail one of the famous concrete
ships, the Selma, on its last voyage.
It was to be brought to Galveston
Bay from Tampico, Mexico, because it had a cracked hull, and no one could be certain
that the subsequent repair would make the vessel adequately seaworthy.
Howell’s specific orders were to sail it into Galveston Bay where it would be
sunk in waters adjacent to Pelican Island.
(the old ship)|
courtesy Rosenberg Library, Galveston
For almost 90 years
it has been seen by millions of ferry riders, fished from by thousands, and was
even the home of a hermit for a decade or two, beginning about 1946.
case you’re ever asked, the hermit’s name was Clesmey N. LeBlanc, but everyone
called him Frenchy. Christie “the Beachcomber”
Mitchell couldn’t resist wagging, “Frenchy changed his shirt as often as he
changed his tattoos.”
So while Capt. Howell was sailing ships, Theodora
was teaching voice lessons and raising their daughter, Winnie, whose real name
courtesy Debra Weaver
| Miss Winnie married
Albert Gordy, who worked at Black Hardware for 30 years before he passed away.
And then she went to work at the United States National Bank, and retired from
there after 25 years.|
She was also a prolific artist whose works are well
respected. About thirty years ago, Miss Winnie painted an acrylic of the historic
home my wife and I lived in on Ball. It hangs in my Dallas home, today.
past Mother’s Day, Winnie Gordy and her family will celebrate her 72nd Mother’s
Day on this planet, and it was at Miss Winnie’s home, the west end brick home
where Edward and Theodora had also lived for decades before they both passed away.
2013 – William
Cherry's Galveston Memories"
June 8, 2013 column
| People |
Texas Town List | Columns
a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston
County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold
thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other
Cherry's Galveston Memories|